What does the Non-Radioactive CombiMeter mean for Dredging?

Non-Radioactive Combimeter

A “CombiMeter” is a combination of a flow meter and a density meter. The latest non-radioactive CombiMeter was recently introduced by Damen in partnership with Krohne and ITS. Krohne supplies the electromagnetic flow meter and ITS supplies the electrical resistance tomography density meter. Damen has described the CombiMeter as a non-radioactive integrated production meter.

This latest innovation further confirms the market’s demands for intelligent instrumentation. Albeit slightly late to the party, we are pleased to see instrumentation which attempts to address the need for more accurate measurement methodology. We are passionate about bringing innovation to these markets and this latest product is another significant shift in the right direction. Red Meters have been strong advocates for the advantages of using a flow meter in conjunction with a density meter. Download the case study on our “mobile base” unit here – which involves a Red Meter and flow meter secured to a single solid base. 

Damen Combimeter 

Questions about the Combimeter

While the introduction of the non-radioactive CombiMeter is an advancement which we fully support, the available information still raises some questions. Perhaps, these questions will be clarified at the WEDA Dredging Summit and Expo in Chicago, on June 7th  2019 where the device is intended to be launched.

The CombiMeter was created by Damen, a Dutch dredge ship builder, and Krohne. Current documentation does not indicate whether an exclusivity with either company and their products exists.

If so, a potential limiting factor would be the Jones Act, a component of the Merchant Maritime Act of 1920. It statutes that cabotage “requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried on U.S.-flag ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents.” Essentially, all ships, dredges, or anything floating along the coast must be US constructed. What implications will the act have on American dredging companies ability to use the instrumentation?


The most significant question raised by the unveiling of the non-radioactive CombiMeter would be their choice in density meter technology.  The Krohne flow meter has been paired with the ITS Electrical Resistance Tomography Meter.

Though the ITS ERT meter is a pioneer in its methodology and display, physical display does not always equate to accurate numerical measurements. The ERT meter generally requires a slow moving slurry and as a result, acquires measurements slowly. The display is inventive, but it does take some time to render. Additionally, the ERT meter operates most accurately with low density slurries. Slow speed and low density slurries aren’t generally the slurry type on dredges.

Like many industrial technologies, the ERT could be considered pricey. Time will aid the ERT meter capabilities and possibly even lessen price – but we aren’t totally convinced yet that it was the best choice for the pairing. However, different applications call for different instrumentation, so it’s best to compare density meter options before deciding on the most efficient solutions.


Red Meter installed on a Dredge integrated with a Krohne Flow Meter

Benefits of a Combimeter

If a non-radioactive CombiMeter is the fusion of a flow meter and a non-nuclear density meter, the results should hypothetically bring clarity to the dredging process. These two technologies operating and communicating could result in the acquisition of every measurement necessary for exact billing.

Although this launch brings attention to the benefits of modern instrumentation, essentially any dredge or process could incorporate their own version of a CombiMeter by acquiring electronically integratable flow meters and density meters. This is a simple solution Red Meters has implemented successfully without any issues surrounding exclusivity. 

Red Meters have implemented case studies demonstrating the effectiveness of an electronically integrated flow meter and density meter. With density meter accuracy percentage of ± 0.25% (noteably more than the ITS meter) of each reading, a more detailed understanding can be achieved. All while being non-nuclear, real time, and acutely precise.

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